I’ve been getting e-mails and messages about which song drove me to the edge and which part in the book it belonged to. So, as promised, here is the song, and the entry. (TURN OFF THE WEBSITE MUSIC AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN.)
Welcome Eliza Plaats, everyone.
REBORN (RISE OF THE REALMS: BOOK ONE) EXCERPT
My breath mists out in front of me, swirling and swaying in an unnatural, circular pattern. The fog is less dense, my vision clearer. I can now see the trees surrounding me, their sparse leaves blowing in the slight breeze, though I can only hear it.
There’s a smell now. What is that smell? It’s rich. Earthy. Spicy. I can’t place it.
“Hello?” I call out, the word rushing across my tongue. I turn around, searching for him, until my eyes land on the figure I just met.
He stands before the rails of the train, his hands in his pockets. This time he doesn’t wait for me to call again before he lifts his head. His bright blue eyes shine a little brighter, his jaw less set—less hard.
Those baby blues search my face in a scorching slow motion, seeming to soak in every detail passed down from my mother and her mother before that. I tilt my head when his eyes land on my lips, his lips parting, but a breath of mist doesn’t escape like mine does.
I take a step forward and his eyes shoot back to mine, the hard, soulless stare seeing right through me. His lips close, his jaw ticks, the muscles ripple in his cheeks.
My mind flashes back to the corpse on my gurney. That muscle was dead, lifeless, no brain activity to construct its movements. But here he stands, a contradiction to the laws of life.
I dip my head and take another step. The smell grows stronger as I move closer. My breath comes in heavier spurts, the mist clouding my vision of him. I take another step. His body grows rigid as he eyes me carefully. The square jaw at the edge of his face angles when he shifts his head, speculating, considering, unsure.
One more step. I stand before him, taking him into my lungs, drinking in the aroma that’s swirling around my head, up my nose, and licking my taste buds. My eyes flicker shut, savoring the flavor.
The lightest of touches brush my cheek, stroking me in places I never knew existed. It heats my insides, fogs my thoughts, flutters my stomach, and fills my heart.
My lids twitch but I keep them closed for fear I’ll wake. This is but a dream. A lonely dream, but still a dream. I keep them closed for fear it’ll stop. I lean into it and he pulls back a fraction. I freeze and squeeze my eyes, the skin wrinkling around the edges as I pray for his hand to return.
The pad of his thumb touches my lips, rubbing along the seam as he memorizes the texture. The breath I’ve been holding escapes, a relieved sigh. His skin brushes once more and my shoulders relax, a sense of comfort and ease taking over. My reason for being returns, his skin scorching into mine, reminding me who I am. Loneliness fades, replaced with a sense of belonging.
His skin leaves mine, only to move to my chin. He grips it with soft but sure fingers, tilting my head back. I don’t hear him shuffle forward but I can feel him move closer. The slight vibrations of the breeze are now blocked by the man before me. I inhale, wanting one more taste.
Slowly, with an ease I’ve never had, I open my lids. I can only see his eyes as he towers above me. The blue depths are clearer, more intricate, as I search within them for the reason of all this, as if those very eyes hold the key to my questions.
Hunger, curiosity, wonder, float inside the still swirls of blue freckled with gray. He blinks, his lashes impossibly long. The sweet, delicious scent fans my face as he takes another careful breath.
His eyes flit back and forth between mine, his face carefully blank. He leans forward a fraction, searching my face, my eyes, my soul.
With tender ease, his eyes close as his lips brush against mine. Just one. Feather-like. Enough to make me want more.
I need more.
The heat in my lower abdomen is ablaze, swirling like the pits of hell with an insatiable need and an unquenchable desire. The thoughts in my mind are no longer heard. The flutters in my stomach an intense tickle. My heart pounding out of my chest, reminding me it beats. But his shouldn’t.
Ignoring my sense of feeling so out of place, I move my lips against his as he brushes once more. Flicking out my tongue, I taste him. His hand reaches from my chin to my nape, tilting my head back and stroking the inside of my mouth. A gentle encounter, a careful massage.
I sigh and place my hand on his hips. His body tightens, ridged under my cautious fingers, his tongue pulling back into his mouth. He breaks the kiss and leans his forehead against mine. My eyelids flutter open and explore the man before me.
And I gasp.
I can see through him. He isn’t real. He’s . . . he’s partially invisible.
Just as I’m lifting my hand to touch his cheek, to see if my fingers would slip through his flawless, transparent skin, he speaks. It caresses my insides and my mouth parts once more as his breath fans over me. “It’s time.”
My eyebrows knit together. “Time for what?” He doesn’t answer. He breathes me in before pain and anguish contort his angelic features. “Time for what?” I repeat.
With one hand, he pulls the string of his hood from its hole. He wads it up in his fingers and places the string in my palm, folding my hand around it.
His hand slips from my hair as I’m pulled away by an invisible force. “No. No, I don’t want to wake.” His hand remains, suspended in air, even after I’m a few feet away, before he stuffs his hands back into his pockets, watching me as I go against my will.
My eyelids flutter open, taking in the detail etched along my ceiling. A hot tear falls from my cheek. I touch my lips, the kiss still burning my delicate skin. Another tear falls, creating a straight trail down to the curve of my jaw.
I move my arm, my fingers twitching from their balled-up clench. Something smooth rubs against the inside of my palm and I open my hand. Knitted cloth nestled within the cup of my palm. What the hell is going on?